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I wish I had written this article - it's exactly what I've been preaching for years (i.e. TRADE DOWN !!!) Those analyzed include Gholston, DRC, and Sims.

Link: TSN Article

Draft Dish: The great defensive debates for ‘08

By Russ Lande - SportingNews

As we reach the end of individual campus workouts for most of the top 2008 NFL Draft prospects, nearly all of the 32 teams’ scouts return to their respective facilities to begin the final set of predraft meetings. Most teams’ draft meetings involve all the scouts, pertinent coaches, scouting directors and the general manager.

Although many of the player evaluations go pretty smoothly because most observers in the same organization tend to view the same player similarly, there always are several prospects whose NFL potential leads to arguments—sometimes quite heated.

In our previous Draft Dish, we analyzed offensive players who are sure to spark plenty of draft-room discussions. Below is one prospect from each defensive position who has become a subject of great debate:

Calais Campbell, DE, Miami (Fla.). When Campbell, a junior, declared for the draft, scouts really liked what they saw when they initially evaluated game film. He showed a rare combination of athleticism and strength, with the speed to chase down plays in pursuit and the explosive closing burst to finish sacks. When playing aggressively, he could be as dominant a defensive end in the Class of ‘08.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, however, Campbell looked sluggish and showed a lack of foot quickness, explosiveness and athleticism. Everyone expected him to perform better at Miami’s on-campus workout, but he looked even worse. That led numerous scouts to wonder what had happened to Campbell since the season ended, because he was clearly not the same athlete he appeared to be on film.

Scouts and personnel men who evaluated Campbell before his predraft workouts will fight hard for him, arguing he is a football player and not a workout guy. However, evaluators whose first exposure to Campbell came at the Combine will argue he is not a good enough athlete to play defensive end in the NFL.

Pat Sims, DT, Auburn. Sims’ story is similar to Campbell’s: When the Auburn tackle announced he was entering the draft after his junior season, scouts who evaluated him were impressed. In fact, many thought Sims’ on-field performance put him in the discussion to be the second-best defensive tackle in the draft, behind LSU’s Glenn Dorsey. Sims’ troubles began when he showed up at the Combine out of shape: He looked soft-bodied and fleshy, and he struggled through his workout, failing to display the foot quickness, agility and balance he showed on film.

We have little doubt that, during predraft meetings, NFL personnel men will talk about how impressive Sims looked on film—and how bad he looked so bad in his workout. Expect the latter performance to factor in heavily; as a result, GMs won’t be able to justify drafting him as highly as his on-field performance warrants.

Vernon Gholston, DE/OLB, Ohio State. When Gholston first declared for the draft as a junior, nearly every scout gave him either a second- or third-round grade—and that was largely based on his athleticism and potential rather than his productivity. Gholston was viewed as a run stuffer who lacked explosiveness off the snap as a pass rusher and struggled to consistently make an impact in every game. He stood out at times in 2007, but was a non-factor in too many games. Nearly everyone who evaluated Gholston anticipated he would rocket up draft boards after working out at the Combine, though, and that prediction has come true.

Gholston will spark the classic “production vs. potential” in many teams’ draft rooms. In one camp, evaluators who analyzed every game he played in 2007 and saw he was a much better athlete than a football player will argue he has a long road ahead of him to maximize his potential. In the other camp, coaches and scouts who saw him dominate during predraft workouts will contend their coaches can get Gholston to play to his talent level on a regular basis. You can be sure the name Mike Mamula will be brought up by those who do not believe Gholston’s on-field production warrants a high draft selection.

Dan Connor, LB, Penn State. Rest assured, there will be arguments about whether Connor is an overrated prospect. The main reason he will cause debate in draft rooms is coaches tend to fall in love with his toughness, smarts and intangibles—and overlook his lack of athleticism. Connor is a stiff, straight-line player who lacks the flexibility to change directions quickly, tackle well in the open field and move well in pass coverage downfield. In addition, his intangibles will get some teams to believe he could be productive playing outside linebacker; many others say he only fits only as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Simeon Castille, S, Alabama. Two issues will spark debate about Castille’s NFL future: His slight frame and what position he should play. Although he played cornerback and safety at Alabama, he played cornerback more often. He is a smart, instinctive defender who breaks up a lot of passes and is a surprisingly physical tackler. However, although he clearly has a great feel for playing cornerback, teams will argue about whether he has the explosiveness and speed to handle the position in the NFL. Meanwhile, teams also will debate whether Castille has the size and strength to hold up at safety.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State. Rodgers-Cromartie could be the most heavily debated player in the 2008 draft. When most teams held their initial draft meetings in December, Rodgers-Cromartie widely was projected as a third- or fourth-round prospect because he often appeared to lack instincts and allowed receivers to gain separation and make catches. The big question teams face now is, why did a player who dominated the Senior Bowl and Combine with his size and athleticism struggle to consistently make plays at Tennessee State?

Evaluators who like Rodgers-Cromartie are sure to bring up the Dallas Cowboys’ Terence Newman as an example of a highly drafted cornerback who was not dominant in college in terms of breaking up passes (he was often in position but allowed a surprising number of catches). Those who don’t like Rodgers-Cromartie will bring up ex-Tennessee Titan Andre Woolfolk, who was drafted in the first round in 2003, despite a lack of consistent productivity at Oklahoma, because he performed like a superstar in predraft workouts. Woolfolk was released by the Titans after four seasons and is trying to get back into the league

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Here's the offensive counterpart. I had hoped they would discuss Devin Thomas (WR, Mich St) but he does discuss MSU's Tight End Kellen Davis. I can tell you why they weren't productive in college: until last year, they had the worst college football coach in the history of the game. Here's the link: Offensive Article :D

Draft Dish: The great offensive debates for ‘08

By Russ Lande - SportingNews

Mar 31, 4:05 pm EDT

As we reach the end of individual campus workouts for most of the top 2008 NFL draft prospects, nearly all of the 32 teams’ scouts return to their respective facilities to begin the final set of predraft meetings. Most teams’ draft meetings involve all the scouts, pertinent coaches, scouting directors and the general manager.

Although many of the player evaluations go pretty smoothly because most observers in the same organization tend to view the same player similarly, there always are several prospects whose pro potential leads to arguments—sometimes quite heated.

Below is one prospect from each offensive position who has become a subject of great debate heading up to draft decision day ‘08:

Joe Flacco, QB, Delaware. Flacco (6-6 1/4, 237) is a tall, strong-armed quarterback about whom scouts have been talking since they evaluated Delaware tight end Ben Patrick during the ‘06 season and the buzz has just gotten stronger. Prior to the ‘08 Senior Bowl, many others viewed Flacco as simply a scout’s invention and wondered if he was really as gifted as scouts had been telling their teams. Then Flacco went out and had a solid week of practices in Mobile. He did not dominate, but he definitely showed the arm strength and the quick release that are very hard to find.

The debate will center around Flacco having started his college career at Pittsburgh, where he arrived the year after a stellar freshman season from then Panthers quarterback Tyler Palko. Flacco was immediately stuck behind Palko on the depth chart and after backing up Palko for a few seasons, Flacco chose to transfer to Delaware for the chance to play.

Some NFL people will voice the opinion that either a) “He couldn’t beat out Palko, who is barely hanging on in the NFL, this kid is a big-time prospect?” or B) “He choose to transfer to another school instead of continuing to battle Palko, knowing that in the worst case he would get one full season as a starter after Palko was done at Pitt?” or c) He transferred to Delaware instead of another Division 1-A school where he might have had the chance to really stick it to Pitt?”

Rest assured that the battle over where to place Flacco on team draft boards around the league will not only be vocal, but will lead to his final grade varying tremendously from team to team.

Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers. Rice (5/8 1/8, 198), very productive in his three years as a Scarlet Knight, was expected to be a first-round pick after he made the decision to forgo his senior season. But when he arrived at the Combine and measured so lightly, he slid down draft boards all around the league.

The debate on Rice will come down to those people who want to base the bulk of his grade on his on-field performance during his three years at Rutgers and those people who will not care how productive he was or how athletic he is and will only look at his size because backs his size have historically struggled to make it in the NFL.

Although there are many reasons to love Rice and feel that he will turn out to be a better pro than a number of the backs who eventually get drafted ahead of him, there is little doubt that he will get drafted below backs who were not nearly as productive or durable in college, but are bigger and look more like NFL backs walking around in shorts and a T-shirt.

Jerome Felton, FB, Furman. Felton (5-11 1/2, 242) is a big, strong and very skilled athlete who we, along with many in the NFL, feel has the talent to become a good all-around starting fullback. A big part of the debate about him, however, will stem from the fact that Felton was primarily a ballcarrier at Furman and has limited experience as a lead blocker. Additionally, he struggled through a disappointing senior season after a great junior year. It’s a matter if teams think their coaches believe that Felton can be taught to block as well as the scouts believe he has the natural athleticism to do so.

Dexter Jackson, WR, Appalachian State. Jackson (5-9 5/8, 184) has turned himself into a player who will cause much debate with his outstanding spring (Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and Combine) after finishing an inconsistent college career. Scouts who evaluated him off Appalachian State game film, including us in The War Room, have felt he is a gifted athlete who has struggled with inconsistent hands, making him best suited to be either a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

However, many NFL coaches’ first exposure to Jackson was his performance as the Senior Bowl and then the show he put on at the Combine, so their initial view of him was likely as a second-round prospect, and this is where the debate begins. Scouts will bring up his inconsistent play at Appalachian State and argue that he isn’t consistent enough to warrant being drafted as high as his postseason has pushed him, but coaches will argue that he showed the athleticism, hands and smarts to be coached to play as well as he did at the all-star games and Combine.

This debate will like cause Jackson’s draft value to be high in NFL clubs where the coaches have the real power, but lower in NFL clubs where the scouting department has more pull and will definitely lead to some great internal back-and-forth during some draft meetings.

Kellen Davis, TE, Michigan State. Davis (6-6 5/8, 256) is the ultimate tease because he has great physical ability, but he also was a very inconsistent player in terms of producing for the Spartans, especially coming up short with his effort and aggressiveness. His draft value will cause real debate because his production did not match his talent and players like that rarely get support from all people in one organization.

The biggest debates will take place in the draft rooms of teams that use highlight tapes instead of touch tapes—videotapes made of a player that include every pass thrown in his direction, not just highlight-reel plays. On a cutup tape, Davis will look like a star, especially when splicing in his workout at the Combine. On game film, however, Davis just shows up as being inconsistent.

Cody Wallace, C, Texas A&M. Scouts, including us in The War Room, liked Wallace (6-3 3/4, 292) right away after evaluating on film during the ‘07 season. He was not a star, but he showed good athleticism, great competitiveness and generally good production. In addition, from what we were able to find out from other scouts, Wallace was viewed as a solid fourth-round prospect who just might become a Day 2 steal by developing into a long-term NFL starter.

At Senior Bowl week, however, Wallace struggled mightily and was pushed around, looking like he was small and lacking strength. His struggles in Mobile were the first looks many NFL coaches had at him, which will lead to them not wanting to fight hard for him regardless of what scouts say about how he played at Texas A&M. Count on some lively debate as scouts try to sell him as a great Day 2 pick who could eventually start, while coaches won’t be able to shake the thought of his bad week in Mobile.

Carl Nicks, G, Nebraska. Nicks (6-4 3/4, 342) played offensive tackle for the Cornhuskers, but much of the debate surrounding Nicks will come down to what position he needs to play in the NFL to be successful. After starting for only one full season at Division I-A, Nicks was viewed as one of the most intriguing offensive line prospects entering the postseason process because he has such good natural athleticism for such a massive man.

However, scouts, along with us in The War Room, have been frustrated when evaluating Nicks on film because he isn’t a consistently competitive blocker and allowed his blocking assignments to either make or disrupt far too many plays in college. Then at the Senior Bowl, the inconsistency continued. He showed the natural athleticism that excited so many scouts during the season and clearly grabbed the attention of many coaches, but he also struggled with blocking throughout the week, which raised the concerns that he might be best suited to play guard in the NFL.

The debate about Nicks then will have several layers to it. Everything will start with what would be his best NFL position, and then it would turn into whether he is competitive enough to be a consistent NFL performer, regardless of position. The last, and certainly not least issue is whether Nicks can keep himself in the necessary shape to hold up as an NFL lineman.

Chris Williams, T, Vanderbilt. Williams (6-6 1/8, 317) may be the most debated player in draft rooms around the league and the main reason is that left tackle has become such a vital position over the past decade, and Williams has the chance to be a very special one.

Although nearly everyone in the media was focused on Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long throughout the ‘07 season, Williams was the talk of scouts because he is a premier athlete for the position—no doubt more athletic than Long—and played much better in 2007 than he had in 2006, but he still did not play with the aggressiveness/passion that teams loved when they evaluated Jake Long. Then at the Senior Bowl, Williams was dominant, both athletically and competitively, and raised the question among NFL people if he was the best tackle prospect because of his potential.

Long still will be chosen ahead of Williams, but you can be sure that there will be some very vocal arguments between those who favor the “safe” pick (Long) and the player with more potential (Williams). Williams also is seen as more of a risk because of perceived limited aggressiveness and passion for playing the position.

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I wish I had written this article -

I have. Several times in fact. The article says many of the same things I've posted numerous times, and the only player mentioned that I haven't openly questioned in Rogers-Cromartie, a player I've never watched play other than in the Senior Bowl. I simply don't know enough about him to say whether he's overrated or not. As for the players on the offensive side of the ball in the following article, I haven't mentioned nearly as many but have noted how all of the most highly regarded center prospects all lack size, power, and strength. Steve Justice, Mike Pollack, and Cody Wallace all fit that profile, and Wallace in particular was embarrassed during Senior Bowl practices. As for Carl Nicks, I recently watched Bobby Beathard blast him for at least five minutes in almost every way possible, but mostly relating to character. Within a week Nicks was arrested.

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